Meriden Youth Theatre to resume indoor performances, shows start Friday

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MERIDEN — Starting on Friday, Meriden Youth Theatre at the YMCA will be putting on its fall performances in the Edison Middle School theater.

“Frozen Junior” will be performed Dec. 10 and 11 at 7 p.m, “Frozen Kids” will be on Dec. 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. and “Legally Blonde” will take place the following week with four performances starting Dec. 17 and ending on Dec. 19. There will be shows at 7 p.m and 2 p.m. for that musical. 

Carolyn Daniels, program director, said the groupings for the shows are broken up by age. “Frozen Kids” will be performed by kindergartners to fourth graders, “Frozen Junior” will be performed by fifth through eighth graders and “Legally Blonde” will be performed by eighth to 12th graders.

However, kids who are a part of the “Frozen” shows will get the chance to help out in both the Kids and the Junior performances.

“We’ve combined them so that they can be in parts of both shows in some of our bigger numbers so the kids can do the bigger show and feel a part of that and then our older kids can help with the younger performance,” Daniels said. 

Due to the pandemic, the youth theater group was unable to hold its fall productions. This summer MYT was able to put on performances outdoors at Mountain Mist Day Camp, but Daniels said this is the first time since the pandemic started that they are performing in an indoor theater. 

“We’re still wearing masks, we’re still following all of the COVID protocols. The audience will be wearing masks, the performers will be wearing masks, but we’re on stage together and it’s thrilling,” Daniels said. 

Once MYT’s summer camp at Mountain Mist has finished, the directors finalize the fall show ideas, start the registration process and start figuring out how to stage the three different shows.

“This year it is a little easier because both our elementary and middle schoolers are doing ‘Frozen,’” said Joe Oblon, technical director. “In 2019, that was not the case, they were doing two different shows and so we had to really think creatively about our set and how we could use one set for two different shows.” 

Masks, audience

Along with figuring out the logistics of all three shows, the directors also have to work on getting the actors prepared for the performances. This year, they had to get the kids accustomed to performing with masks.

“It’s difficult when you sing as opposed to talking because you’re having a constant flow of air as opposed to when you talk you’re not talking all that much all of the time,” Daniels said. “But they’ve adjusted to it. They’re all so used to wearing masks. It’s really just part of a costume.” 

Oblon said he is excited to see the energy the audience gives back to the performers through their reaction to the show.

“Musical theater is one of the few art forms where the audience gets to contribute to the performance,” Oblon said. “The harder the clap or the better reactions they give, that can really add extra energy to a show and we’ve missed that over the past year.”

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"The audience will be wearing masks, the performers will be wearing masks, but we’re on stage together and it’s thrilling."

-Carolyn Daniels

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